USS Nimitz becomes first US aircraft carrier to visit Sri Lanka in 32 years

USS Nimitz (CVN 68) and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) patrol alongside each other, Oct. 20, 2017, in the Arabian Gulf. Photo: US Navy

Entering Colombo, Sri Lanka, on October 28, with ships from its carrier strike group, USS Nimitz became the first US Navy aircraft carrier to visit the country in 32 years.

The visit follows the recent completion of the inaugural bilateral naval exercise CARAT Sri Lanka and the US Navy’s participation in Sri Lanka’s Galle Dialogue.

USS Nimitz’ (CVN 68) taking part marks the first time a U.S. carrier has visited Sri Lanka since the now-decommissioned USS Kitty Hawk visited in 1985.

During the visit, sailors and marines are participating in various community service projects with non-profit organizations in Colombo such as sporting events, and local school and hospital visits to foster positive relations between the two nations.

“Building our maritime partnership advances our shared national goals of fostering security and stability,” said US ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives Atul Keshap. “I’m delighted that US sailors will have the chance to visit Sri Lanka, meet with its wonderful people, and take part in public service activities at schools, hospitals, and rest homes that will improve the lives of Sri Lankans of all ages,” he added.

Nimitz CSG partaking in the port visit are: aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) with embarked staff of Carrier Strike Group 11, Destroyer Squadron 9, and Carrier Air Wing 11; Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59) and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers USS Howard (DDG 83), USS Shoup (DDG 86), USS Pinckney (DDG 91) and USS Kidd (DDG 100).

The Nimitz carrier strike group is currently underway in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region after completing a deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations (AOO). Nimitz is homeported in Bremerton, Wash., while Princeton, Howard and Pinckney are homeported in San Diego and Shoup and Kidd are homeported in Everett, Wash.

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